Nocturnal Creatures 2021 Back to previous

Nocturnal Creatures 2021


When? 17 July 2021, 6:00pm–11:00pm
Where? Whitechapel Gallery and local locations, Free Entry

Enjoy culture safely this summer with 16 artists across 12 East London sites for a free, one-night-only contemporary arts festival!

  • 6 artist commissions are presented by Whitechapel Gallery featuring Nicole Bachmann, Julianknxx, Inês Neto dos Santos, Paula Morison, Candida Powell-Williams and Abbas Zahedi.
  • 4 venues within a 10-minute walk include Whitechapel Gallery, Toynbee Hall, Aldgate Square and the old Brick Lane Police Station.
  • Free tickets will be available from 1 July 2021 and a festival map will be available on the Bloomberg Connects App and Whitechapel Gallery website.
  • Associate partner Sculpture in the City presents 6 artists’ projects and guided walking tours of the outdoor exhibition’s 10th edition.
  • Associate partner Artsadmin offers 3 new projects just around the corner at their home Toynbee Studios in collaboration with Shubbak festival.
  • An affiliate programme presented by neighbouring East End galleries coincides with the July 2021 edition of First Thursdays.
  • Enhance your experience by dining outdoors at one of the recommended restaurants in the Brick Lane and Middlesex Street area.

For one night only, Whitechapel Gallery and nearby historic, outdoor and unusual spaces in East London are transformed by new installations, films, live performances, music and food experiences for the third edition of Nocturnal Creatures.

To offer maximum flexibility and peace of mind to visitors, both pre-bookable and walk-in tickets are available via their website from 1st July, alongside a complementary digital programme streaming on the Gallery’s website, social media and the Bloomberg Connects app.

Awaken the senses through the hypnotic twisting and knotting movements of dancers in Candida Powell-Williams’ (b. 1984, UK) performance, set in the open spaces of Aldgate Square. Movement and sound by performers on screen and in real-life feature in Nicole Bachmann’s (b. 1973, Switzerland) work, which explores connectedness and alternative forms of communication in Toynbee Hall’s historic Lecture Hall.

Through video, live music and spoken word at Whitechapel Gallery, Julianknxx (b. 1987, Sierra Leone) examines how the act of breathing is politically and socially charged in 2021, calling for new structures and realities for black people to breathe, freely. Reflecting on the housing crisis and precarious working conditions, Paula Morison (b. 1985, UK) sews a 1:1 scale map of a flat for the length of time it would take to buy a space of that size whilst earning London Living Wage.

Inês Neto dos Santos (b. 1992, Portugal) explores how we can live in greater connection with our surroundings and others through a bean-growing network, a food offer with the Gallery’s Townsend Restaurant and a bean-themed bar with views over East London. Meanwhile, Abbas Zahedi (b. 1984, UK) proposes a social space for the local community where audiences will be invited to reflect on the potential future use of the old Brick Lane Police Station and the surrounding area.

These six emerging, London-based artists’ commissions also form part of The London Open 2022, a triennial, open submission exhibition scheduled for summer 2022.

Whitechapel Gallery’s programme for Nocturnal Creatures is accompanied by a host of additional projects presented in association with Artsadmin and Sculpture in the City. Artsadmin presents The Apocalypse Reading Room curated by artist Ama Josephine Budge, an installation of books that imagine alternative futures, to be accompanied by a sound and video installation by Umama Hamido reflecting on the 2019 October Revolution in Lebanon, and Niqabi Ninja by Sara Shaarawi, an outdoor audio walk about a Cairene vigilante’s reaction to seemingly inescapable male violence, both as part of Shubbak festival of contemporary Arab culture.

Sculpture in the City presents Oliver Bragg’s From Seed to Sculpture, Laura Arminda Kingsley’s Murmurs of the Deep and Almuth Tebbenhoff’s A collective Meditation, plus performances by Isabella Martin and Rosanne Robertson. The programme further includes a Q&A with Jake Elwes, along with a number of tours around the 10th Edition of Sculpture in the City, including Art and Architecture tours led by David Rosenberg.

Coinciding with Whitechapel Gallery’s 120-year anniversary celebrations, Nocturnal Creatures 2021 offers unprecedented access to some of East London’s most unique spaces and heritage sites, whilst providing a crucial platform for artists to exhibit in the public realm and reach new audiences.